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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Twin sisters Maria Ines and Maria Paula Deheza have signed to play women's tennis at Texas A&M, Aggie second-year head coach Howard Joffe announced.

The heralded duo from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, will join the Aggies in January and bolster an already talented lineup.

"Both young ladies are top international tennis players and fabulous students who possess character and smarts of the highest caliber," Joffe said. "Their inclusion in our group is a coach's dream."

Maria Ines has been ranked as high as No. 9 in the world in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior world singles rankings. She has competed in the junior division at the U.S. Open, the French Open and earlier this year reached the round of 16 in doubles at Wimbledon. In addition, Maria Ines won both the singles and doubles titles at the ITF Inka Bowl (Peru) and the ITF Copa Coldeportes (Columbia).

Maria Paula has been as high No. 60 in the ITF junior world rankings. In 2011, she competed at the U.S. Open and partnered with Maria Ines to advance to the round of 32 in doubles. Maria Paula was the winner of the 2011 South American Junior Championships, as well as the doubles winner at the Le Pont Des Generations Junior International in France. She was the runner-up in singles at both the Le Pont Des Generations Junior International and the Mondial Paris Cadet in Paris, France.

The twins, who represented Bolivia at the 2011 Federation Cup, are second-generation Aggies and will be joining another sister in College Station when they arrive for the spring season.

"The recruitment of Maria Paula and Maria Ines proves the old adage that it is often better to be lucky than good," Joffe said. "The twins' story is a true Texas A&M gem. Rafael Deheza, the twins' father, got his degree from Aggieland, and their older sister, Leni, is currently studying engineering here at A&M. I am enormously grateful to the Deheza family for trusting us with the twins."

A&M opens the spring season January 20th at Rice.


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